Research Article

How obstetricians manage hypertension in pregnancy.

Br Med J 1978; 1 doi: (Published 11 March 1978) Cite this as: Br Med J 1978;1:626
  1. G V Chamberlain,
  2. P J Lewis,
  3. M De Swiet,
  4. C J Bulpitt


    One thousand and ninety-three obstetricians answered a questionnaire on the management of pregnant women with pre-existing hypertension and pre-eclampsia. They reported that they frequently used antihypertensive drugs (most often methyldopa and diuretics) in severe essential hypertension but tended to give sedatives in mild cases. Renal impairment was considered more important that raised blood pressure as an indication for terminating pregnancy; but even without a raised blood urea concentration over a quarter of respondents (especially the more senior obstetricians) would have considered it. The more junior obstetricians were more likely to admit the least severely affected patients to hospital. Pre-eclampsia was usually treated with bed rest and sedatives (most frequently diazepam); but the choice of drug varied with the seniority of the respondents, the more senior obstetricians tending to confine themselves to the more familial drugs. There was considerable unanimity in the replies, even though most of the treatments and practices have not been validated by controlled trials, and two-thirds of the obstetricians gave the same answers to most of the questions.